Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Items More Interesting

One of my goals during creation was to avoid having boring items scattered around. Instead I have tried to create unique and hopefully interesting items. They need to have an description that fits the item and backs up the properties. I started with having both positive and negative attributes on the items then I moved onto item tag based scripts. Items were given numerous abilities as well as new conditions to wielding them. A dwarf won't wear a hide armor made from tanned dwarf skin. Any nonevil character who wears the armor of the fallen paladin will have their alignment shifted to evil since only evil people can wear it. This makes it so a character with a high use magic item skill won't be able to use every item. While in theory they can use the item, their ability does not remove the item's corrupting or cleansing ability.

My last two items went beyond tag scripts and I have now started using spell hooking to help improve and diversify the items found in chapte2 2.  

Spell Hooking:
This all started when I wanted to create an item called a skin cloak. It is the flayed skin of a dead necromancer, found in the The Tomb of Terror. In that book a necromancy can compel this creature to become its familiar. Working within the scope of the toolset this wasn't going to work. So I decided that the cloak could be worn by necromancers, a thing that you can't quite define with the stock functions. This led to a bit of discussion on the bioware forums as to what made a necromancer. A player could choose either the necromancy school specialty (can't get this in script) or the levelup package necromancer. But even with these a wizard could go on to play the game and never cast a necromancy spell. With suggestions from the community several different things were check but the biggest factor is the use of necromancy spells.

I created a spell hook that keeps tracks of all spells cast by players. It has the total number of spells and the count of spells from each spell school. Once a player has cast 250 spells they can then have a specialty. If 40% of their spells come from the same spell school then that is their specialty. They can only have 1 specialty at a time and are awarded a history feat. It doesn't give a bonus, but like with the skin cloak it will be recognized for little bonuses and I'll likely work it into some conversations as well. Right now it is completely untested for function. Once play testing starts I'll have to see how the total spell count and percentage works best. I'm hoping 40% will be high enough but not too high that no one gets it. AT the same time if it is too low a player could have about 40% in 2 different school and their specialty will keep jumping back and forth. So I'll have to see what happens there.

The second item that uses the spell hooking is a pair of gauntlets. On my first release I forgot all about monks and there was nothing for them and I had to go back and sprinkle in some monk specific items with my first update. Since then I have been adding those items in with the same frequency as other items. While these gloves will likely be utilized by any non-evil monk it isn't limited just to monks. It is a good item and any evil character who tries to use them with burn their hands with divine energy taking 1 point of damage and unequiping the item. The holy water grenade spell is hooked for these gauntlets. They contain a reservoir and the holy water can be used on them and it will set several variables that will be used on the on hit script. If they have holy water in the reservoir they will do bonus damage to undead depending on the strength of the holy water and there is a chance to utterly destroy the undead. The DC is again set by the strength of the holy water and the undead adds their turn resistance to their save roll. Most of the time undead are immune to critical hits but with this weapon I decided that a well placed punch could do extra damage to the undead, so a roll is done on damage to to check for a critical hit. The critical hit feats for unarmed attacks are part of that roll so a player won't be cheated.  

On a separate note:
With the creation of the new Nexus NWN page I have uploaded my content there in addition to the vault. Being inspired by this new site I have made available two creatures appearance that I have used in Risen Hero. The bloated zombie, this is a reskin of the drowned appearance that has legs. The other creature is a tintable ice mephit, I used this for a quasit. I have also released the script system and ooze blueprints that I used. Lance Botelle made some great improvements to the scripts and the slime zombies use a zombie skin that Chaos Wielder released. This does require the RWS creature conversion to work.

Finally I have been working on a small override that would let a player use the half-celestial and half-fiend as playable races. I create the back bone of this system for Jezebell, the half-find companion. It grants racial abilities on every odd level. I have modified a number of 2das to correct the feat allocation and create a number of the spell-like abilities. In the past if the Half-Celestial race from MotB was turned into a playable race, a level 1 character would have a number of powerful abilities like resurrection and summon planetar. Those are now given at level 17 and 19. For a full list of the character abilities and stuff look here on the bioware pages:

 Right now this override can be used with the OC, MotB, SOZ and any community module that doesn't alter any 2das. It currently is incompatible with kaedrin and will not be part of Risen Hero (expect for the half-fiend companion).